South African consumers love tablet PCs

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Research from IDC comparing tablet sales for 2013 to tablet sales from the 2012 shows that South Africans are besotted with the touch-screen mobile devices.

In the final quarter of last year tablet sales increased 107% year on year. A total of 513 000 units were shipped to South Africa – 86 000 units more than shipments for the PC market, and right in line with IDC’s expectations for 2013.

Joseph Hlongwane, an analyst for the firm, for the research firm says that tablets grew in popularity due to more favourable prices and a weak currency.

“The decline in PC shipments can be attributed to the weak rand, high unemployment rate, poverty, and cannibalization from tablet devices,” he said.

“As is the case in all high-tech markets, tablets have grown exponentially since their introduction in South Africa and the trend is expected to continue along a similar path in the coming years.”

He also cited the ease of use of touch screens and mobility benefits as driving factors.

Of those tablets that were shipped to South Africa, Android devices far outnumber their premium Apple counterparts. A total of 436 000 of the 513 000 units were Android devices, and of those 369 000 units had screen sizes between 7 and 8-inches. Hlongwane says that this comes down to users wanting one-handed devices: an advantage that smaller devices clearly have over their larger brethren.

In total, for all of 2013, Apple tablets shipped to South Africa number only 300 000 – fewer than all Android shipments for the final quarter.

Christo van Gemert

Christo van Gemert

Eleven years ago Christo started writing about technology for one of South Africa's (then) leading computer magazines. His first review? A Samsung LCD monitor. Hey, it was hot news, back then. Nowadays he gets more excited about photography, cars, game consoles, and faster internet connections. He's sort of an Apple fan, but will take any opportunity to remind you about his Windows-powered home theatre PC and desire to own a vanilla Android tablet.   Currently uses: Apple 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display, Apple iPhone 5, Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000, Audiofly AF78 Earphones, Xbox 360, Nikon D50.